Foodbank hero given special award for 'tremendous impact' on community
- Credit: SUPPLIED
A woman described as “always happy to help” has been honoured with an award for her services to her community during the past year.
Suzi Silva, 38, of Mill Road in Burston, was presented with the Don Swanton Award for positive acts in the Burston and Shimpling community.
Each year a resident or organisation, based in the villages near Diss in South Norfolk, who has gone above and beyond in their services to the local community is presented with the award - named in memory of Burston man Donald Swanton, a former director of Tuck’s Mill, who was well known for his community efforts prior to his death in 2006.
Mr Swanton was a stalwart of the community who quietly helped many people, especially when they were in a difficult place. He is remembered locally as “a real gentleman and an asset to the parish” and was known for enjoying a drive in his beloved Bentley.
The year's recipient, mum-of-two Miss Silva, organised a foodbank in Burston Chapel throughout the pandemic during lockdown, while also collecting shopping for eight families each week who were unable to leave their home as they were isolating.
She also undertakes regular litter-picking around the village and recently started working for South Norfolk help hub as a community connector.
It is her committed efforts in upcycling and distributing items to people who needed them, which earned her the prestigious local accolade.
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Speaking after receiving the award on Church Green earlier this month, Miss Silva said she was surprised to receive the award and recognition for her work as she felt it was just “a pleasure” to help other people.
“I enjoy living in such an amazing community," she said.
"All the work that I have done has been a pleasure, and I'm pleased to live in a lovely village where so many people go the extra mile.”
Mr Swanton’s widow, Dorothy, was joined by other residents to see the Don Swanton Award presented to Miss Silva.
She said her husband would have been proud to see the award presented to such a worthy candidate. The award is an engraved glass block that carries the name of the recipient.
Burston and Shimpling councillor Angela Belgrove, who chaired the committee that decided who was to receive the award, made the presentation and explained that Miss Silva had been active before the Covid lockdown by upcycling all sorts of items, finding things that people no longer wanted, and redistributing them to people who really needed them.
She added that a few weeks previously, she had been on the village litter pick and collected a sizeable bagful of rubbish. She added that she would continue to do litter-picking from time to time as she could see the need for it.
Ms Belgrove added: “Suzi has made a tremendous impact in the village during the three years that she has lived here.
“I’m pleased that so many people came to see the presentation, and they all gave Suzi a really big round of applause.
“We were also fortunate that the rain held off so the presentation could be made in the dry.”
Last year’s award was won by Tommy Bloomfield after countless acts of kindness, including clearing a fallen tree with his digger, helping to maintain the local playing fields, providing the village Christmas tree, and building a war village memorial.
For the last year, this newspaper has been highlighting people in our county who make a real difference, to give them the spotlight they deserve. The Community Leaders Programme has highlighted a whole host of individuals known for their tireless work to make their communities better places to live. To nominate a community hero, email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us who you are nominating and why.